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Home Brewing Professionally: Big Ambitions for Pipe Dream Brewery

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I’ve never interviewed home brewers before. And who could blame me? This blog is called California BrewMasters after all… which isn’t to disrespect the age old tradition of brewing in a private residence. Maybe I just hadn’t met the right home brewers yet? I personally do not home brew; reason being I find it much, MUCH easier to cozy up to a bar and sip on the labors of others than stumble through all that hard work myself. Take my $7 and hand me a pint, damn it. Call me lazy (I certainly do), but there’s just no way in hell I’m capable of a Ballast Point Victory at Sea Imperial Stout or a Russian River Blind Pig IPA. I certainly can’t get the hop contracts.

Brian Holter, Kingsley Toby, and more recent team addition Kevin Segna are thankfully not at all like me, at least in that respect. Collectively, they make up Pipe Dream Brewery, and Brian and Kingsley have been brewing together for almost a decade. They’ve taken it to the next level with professional-quality beers and aspirations to get out of the garage (impressive in its own right) and into their own brewery. These guys are even on Untappd for Pete sake!

I first tried their beers in a hotel room late at night (the inspiration for too many blog posts these days) with Brian, Kingsley, and a bunch of beer bloggers. Mid-bottle share they whipped out some stunningly beautiful 350ml bottles and poured abso-friggen-lutely stunning fruit sours. My taste buds were wowed, and after careful inspection of the minimalist white label with a hardened smear of oil paint, the color signifying the variety (I believe I tried a deep red for raspberry and a purple boysenberry), I remarked, “Wow, you must really like these Pipe Dream guys.” Looking at each other, then back at me, they chuckled and revealed their true identities. I’m all the better for it.

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The Age of the Arts District

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Boomtown Brewing’s Samuel “Chewy” Chawinga

Note: This article appears in the August issue of Beer Paper LA. Check out the print edition!

This city is, without question, in a period of immense change. Across the greater Los Angeles area, neighborhoods are being reshaped to meet the demands of a growing upper-middle class demographic. There is perhaps no better example of this swing than Downtown and the neighboring Arts District, which has seen a major surge in development over the past five to ten years. Most often defined by upscale coffee shops and fine dining establishments that dot these evolving neighborhoods, a new trend is emerging in the Arts District. Thanks to an interesting mash up of industrially zoned space mixed in tightly with residential, this graffiti-clad community has become a uniquely viable hot spot for Los Angeles breweries to set up shop.

The Arts District can boast at least four new breweries within its boundaries, which stretches between East of Little Tokyo and West of the LA River. This, of course, does not count longtime resident Angel City Brewing, which has operated in the area since late 2010. The Arts District will soon make for a perfect walking tour; every brewery is within a mile and a half of each other. The new four are either currently open or under construction with hopes of opening to the public before 2016. Each has been at least two and a half years in the making, promising that this fall and winter will be a period when fans can finally see the fruits of their collective labor come to light. In other words, the Arts District is about to blow up with beer.

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Iron Triangle owner Nathan Cole

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